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5 Traditional bodegas in Barcelona

18th June 2015
Bar Bodega Quimet, Gràcia, Barcelona by Haarland Sinclair

Some bodegas serve the best little plates and tapas in the city

So, what is a bodega?

At its most simple a bodega is where us locals buy everyday wines from the barrel, and occasional wines, cavas and spirits by the bottle or case. In short, an off-licence, or liquor store, where quality wines are considerably cheaper than in supermarkets, and where you can sample the wines before you buy.

Wine barrels in Bar Bodega Montse, Barcelona

What is a bar bodega?

A bar bodega is a bodega with a bar, serving wines, beers and spirits — and, often, little bites.
As well as serving quality wines at affordable prices you’ll find some bodegas serve the best little plates and tapas in the city — anything from simple olives, cured meats and cheeses, through elaborate montaditos, to epicurean delights such as angulas (elvers) and Russian royal king crab.

What is a bar bodega-restaurante?

A bar bodega-restaurante is a bodega with a bar which also serves more substantial meals, an example is Bar Bodega Restaurant Gelida.

Plate of food at Quimet i Quimet, Poble Sec, Barcelona

Tapas at Quimet i Quimet.

Not so long back every barrio had maybe eight or more bodegas, where neighbours would meet for gossip over a vermut or a beer as they bought their family ration of booze. As incomes rose and tastes changed, and supermarkets moved in, bodegas fell out of favour or morphed into wine stores.

Bar Bodega Cal Pep, Gracia by Bill Sinclair

Bar Bodega Cal Pep in Gràcia.

And now — with owners cashing up and retiring — young savvy owners are taking their place, and with customers looking to save money — bodegas are back.
There are some that have always been around — check out Bodega Montse —a beautifully filthy relic of the 1890s:

BAR BODEGA MONTSE, Raval, Barcelona by Louisa Averiss

And now, in place of the old jug and bottle shops, two distinct types of revamped bodegas are emerging — those positioned to appeal to a more affluent set — offering imported beers and premium brand spirits, where the ambience is more like a wine bar; and those which have retained the look, feel and smells of traditional bodegas which, with the addition of craft beers and exquisite snacks, appeal to a younger, more casual set.

Here are a few traditional though thriving bodegas you may want to check out:

Bar Bodega Quimet in Vila de Gràcia.

Bar Bodega Montse in the Raval.

Bar Bodega del Poblet very near the Sagrada Familia.

Bar Bodega E. Marin in Vila de Gràcia.

Bar Bodega Quimet i Quimet in Poble Sec.



How to tackle tracklements in Catalunya — or sauces for courses in Barcelona

21st May 2015
Tracklements & sauces in Barcelona

The Norm

Though things are changing, we don’t do ‘cocktail’ sauce and other sweet’n’spicy gloops in Barcelona.

If in a snack bar, or bar-restaurant, and you’ve ordered a burger then your server may bring you tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard automatically. If they don’t, and you want them, ask for them — ketchup [ketch-oop] — mahonesa [my-yon-essa]— mostaza [moh-sta-sa]. Continue Reading…


Espardenyes in Barcelona

26th March 2015

Sea slugs

Espardenyes are sea slugs, sometimes referred to as sea cucumbers, found only on the Catalan coast. Similar creatures can also be found in the sea around the Balearics and off the coast of Cádiz. They are highly prized (and highly priced) delicacies.

You may see them when visiting fish stalls in the Boqueria market, though I only know of one stall which sells them. They’ll cost between 120€ and 150€ per kilo.

Finding them in restaurants and bars is a bit trickier.

Continue Reading…